Recorded as Tourne, Tournay, Tourney, Tournie, and possibly other spellings, this is a locational surname of French and Belgium origins. It is from any or all of the various places called Tournay or Tourney to be found in Belgium, as well as Calvados, Orne or Haute-Pyrenees in France. It is also confused with and sometimes no doubt even fused with the surname Tournier, Tourneur, and others. This was an occupational name for a (usually) hay farmer, or sometimes a textile worker, or even a wood or metal worker, one who "turned" objects such as bowls and axles.The locational place names are believed to describe an open area of flat ground where horse races or games (tournaments) took place. Originally these places were probably mainly used as gathering grounds for training army recruits, and later in the Medieval period and the so-called "Age of Chivalry" came to be connected with knights in armour. The surname is well recorded in the surviving church registers of France, although rarely before the famous Revolution of 1792, when most were deliberately destroyed and the church itself banned, until reinstated by Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in 1804. An early example is that of Marie Francoise Henriette Tournay, the daughter of Francois Tournay, who was christened on May 3rd 1792, at Vezelise, Meurthe-et- Moselle.
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